On Wednesday, lawmakers in Texas passed the final version of Senate Bill 4, a controversial anti-immigration measure that would ban sanctuary cities across the state.
The Texas Senate voted 20-11 in favor of the the final version of the bill. It now heads to Governor Gregg Abbott’s desk for his all-but-certain signature. On Wednesday evening, Abbott tweeted that he was “getting [his] signing pen warmed up.”
As the Texas Tribune reported, SB4 would charge local law enforcement and other civic leaders with a Class A Misdemeanor, punishable by $25,500, for declining to participate in federal immigration authority requests—such as detaining undocumented immigrants who had been arrested for other crimes longer than their prescribed incarceration.
“We certainly don’t want ‘walking while brown’ to lead to reasonable suspicion,” Sen. Sylvia Garcia (D-Houston) told the Tribune. “It will happen. And in some parts of my district, it already is happening.”
Joining Sen. Garcia in her criticism of the bill was Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo, who in a press conference last week cautioned: “We’re going to have some negative consequences in this community. This bill, SB 4, will impact the ability of the men and women of law enforcement of this state to do their jobs.”
Texas’ efforts to force local jurisdictions into complying with federal immigration requests has been a key issue for Gov. Abbott, who made the fight against sanctuary cities a “priority” legislative item earlier this year. In particular, Abbott’s sights have been set on the city of Austin, where Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez publicly stated she would not comply with Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency detainer requests. In response, Abbott reportedly slashed $1.5 million dollars in criminal justice grants to the county.